United States v. The Links South at Harbour Village Condominiums Association, Inc. (M.D. Fla.)
On December 10, 2021, the court entered the consent order resolving this Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging that the defendant, Links South, discriminated because of disability. The complaint alleged, based on an “election” referral from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that Links South failed to grant a reasonable accommodation to Mr. Charlie Burge, who has diagnosed upper respiratory disabilities stemming from his having spent 18 months with the New York City Department of Sanitation clearing debris from the World Trade Center site following the attacks on 9/11. Because of his disabilities, Mr. Burge had a practice of removing his shoes before entering his condominium and placing them outside his front door to avoid tracking allergens inside his unit and aggravating his disabilities. Links South issued Mr. Burge rule violation notices, and Mr. Burge, through his counsel, sent a letter to Links South requesting a reasonable accommodation that would allow him to leave his shoes outside his front door. Despite receiving this request and supporting medical documentation, Links South constructively denied Mr. Burge’s request by repeatedly asking for more information and questioning the nexus between Mr. Burge’s disability and his need to leave his shoes outside his unit. Under the consent order, the defendant will pay Mr. Burge $40,000, grant Mr. Burge’s reasonable accommodation request, adopt a non-discrimination policy and a reasonable accommodation policy, undergo training, and submit periodic reports to the government.